Novel materials made with FDA-approved components could deliver large payloads of active ingredients.
MIT chemical engineers have devised a new way to create very tiny droplets of one liquid suspended within another liquid, known as nanoemulsions. Such emulsions are similar to the mixture that forms when you shake an oil-and-vinegar salad dressing, but with much smaller droplets. Their tiny size allows them to remain stable for relatively long periods of time.
The researchers also found a way to easily convert the liquid nanoemulsions to a gel when they reach body temperature (37 degrees Celsius), which could be useful for developing materials that can deliver medication when rubbed on the skin or injected into the body.
“The pharmaceutical industry is hugely interested in nanoemulsions as a way of delivering small molecule therapeutics. That could be topically, through ingestion, or by spraying into the nose, because once you start getting into the size range of hundreds of nanometers you can permeate much more effectively into the skin,” says Patrick Doyle, the Robert T. Haslam Professor of Chemical Engineering and the senior author of the study.
In their new study, which appears in the June 21 issue of Nature Communications, the researchers created nanoemulsions that were stable for more than a year. To demonstrate the emulsions’ potential usefulness for delivering drugs, the researchers showed that they could incorporate ibuprofen into the droplets.
Seyed Meysam Hashemnejad, a former MIT postdoc, is the first author of the study. Other authors include former postdoc Abu Zayed Badruddoza, L’Oréal senior scientist Brady Zarket, and former MIT summer research intern Carlos Ricardo Castaneda.
One of the easiest ways to create an emulsion is to add energy — by shaking your salad dressing, for example, or using a homogenizer to break down fat globules in milk. The more energy that goes in, the smaller the droplets, and the more stable they are.
Nanoemulsions, which contain droplets with a diameter 200 nanometers or smaller, are desirable not only because they are more stable, but they also have a higher ratio of surface area to volume, which allows them to carry larger payloads of active ingredients such as drugs or sunscreens.
Over the past few years, Doyle’s lab has been working on lower-energy strategies for making nanoemulsions, which could make the process easier to adapt for large-scale industrial manufacturing.
Detergent-like chemicals called surfactants can speed up the formation of emulsions, but many of the surfactants that have previously been used for creating nanoemulsions are not FDA-approved for use in humans. Doyle and his students chose two surfactants that are uncharged, which makes them less likely to irritate the skin, and are already FDA-approved as food or cosmetic additives. They also added a small amount of polyethylene glycol (PEG), a biocompatible polymer used for drug delivery that helps the solution to form even smaller droplets, down to about 50 nanometers in diameter.
“With this approach, you don’t have to put in much energy at all,” Doyle says. “In fact, a slow stirring bar almost spontaneously creates these super small emulsions.”
Active ingredients can be mixed into the oil phase before the emulsion is formed, so they end up loaded into the droplets of the emulsion.
Once they had developed a low-energy way to create nanoemulsions, using nontoxic ingredients, the researchers added a step that would allow the emulsions to be easily converted to gels when they reach body temperature. They achieved this by incorporating heat-sensitive polymers called poloxamers, or Pluronics, which are already FDA-approved and used in some drugs and cosmetics.
Pluronics contain three “blocks” of polymers: The outer two regions are hydrophilic, while the middle region is slightly hydrophobic. At room temperature, these molecules dissolve in water but do not interact much with the droplets that form the emulsion. However, when heated, the hydrophobic regions attach to the droplets, forcing them to pack together more tightly and creating a jelly-like solid. This process happens within seconds of heating the emulsion to the necessary temperature.
The researchers found that they could tune the properties of the gels, including the temperature at which the material becomes a gel, by changing the size of the emulsion droplets and the concentration and structure of the Pluronics that they added to the emulsion. They can also alter traits such as elasticity and yield stress, which is a measure of how much force is needed to spread the gel.
Doyle is now exploring ways to incorporate a variety of active pharmaceutical ingredients into this type of gel. Such products could be useful for delivering topical medications to help heal burns or other types of injuries, or could be injected to form a “drug depot” that would solidify inside the body and release drugs over an extended period of time. These droplets could also be made small enough that they could be used in nasal sprays for delivering inhalable drugs, Doyle says.
For cosmetic applications, this approach could be used to create moisturizers or other products that are more shelf-stable and feel smoother on the skin.
The Latest on: Nanoemulsions
[google_news title=”” keyword=”nanoemulsions” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]
via Google News
The Latest on: Nanoemulsions
- Projected Growth in the Depth Filtration Market: Anticipated 8.5% CAGR from 2023 to 2033, Expected to Reach US$ 5.4 Billionon September 28, 2023 at 6:21 pm
In the dynamic landscape of industry, where innovation is the cornerstone of progress, the global depth filtration market is poised for remarkable growth. Recent projections reveal that by the end of ...
- Are edible coatings the answer to fresher, eco-friendlier fruit and veg packaging?on September 28, 2023 at 5:06 pm
Review sheds light on edible coatings as a sustainable alternative to traditional packaging and preservatives in the food industry, particularly for perishable items like fruits and vegetables.
- Self-nanoemulsifying Drug Delivery Systemson September 25, 2023 at 5:00 pm
These systems are anhydrous isotropic mixtures of oil, surfactant(s) and drug, which, when introduced into aqueous phase under conditions of gentle agitation, spontaneously form O/W nanoemulsions ...
- Researchers develop novel ultrasound imaging technique to view macrophages in real timeon September 25, 2023 at 6:14 am
Macrophages are little cells vital to the immune system and could possibly inform cell-based therapies for a variety of medical conditions.
- Bubble-Based Technique Could Reveal Immune Cell Secretson September 25, 2023 at 12:54 am
Macrophages are little cells vital to the immune system and could inform cell-based therapies. However, realizing the full potential of macrophage therapies relies on being able to see what these ...
- Tiny bubbles could reveal immune cell secrets and improve treatmentson September 21, 2023 at 3:35 am
Macrophages are cells vital to the immune system and could possibly inform cell-based therapies for a variety of medical conditions. However, realizing the full potential of macrophage therapies ...
- Nanoemulsions Market Set to Reach Valuation of USD 5.59 billion with Healthy CAGR of 11.5% by 2032on September 18, 2023 at 8:41 am
Fior Markets has presented updated research on Global Nanoemulsions Market 2023 to 2032 that would come in handy to understand the competitors in the market. The report offers a widespread and ...
- Nanoemulsions Market Size, Growth | Global Report, 2031on September 18, 2023 at 4:49 am
This Research reportis expected to witness a significant expansion in the market for Nanoemulsions. Several factors contribute to this growth, including an increase in personal expenditure ...
- Self-nanoemulsifying Drug Delivery Systems: Formulation Insights, Applications and Advanceson August 25, 2023 at 5:00 pm
Nanoemulsions can have long-term colloidal stability when fabricated using optimum conditions. Owing to this property, nanoemulsions can be used as drug carriers and can impart long shelf-life to ...
- Nanotechnology in Cosmeticson August 12, 2020 at 6:57 pm
Encapsulation techniques have been proposed for carrying cosmetic actives. Nanocrystals and nanoemulsions are also being investigated for cosmetic applications. Patents have been filed for the ...
via Bing News